A Quick Checklist for a Complete Last Will and Testament in Ohio
You don’t have to win a lottery to create a last will and testament. While most of us think that we have to be billionaires to create a will, it only takes the feuding families around us to see just how bad things can go when loved ones die without a will, regardless how small the estate is. Either one person thinks that they should get more than the other or the ones who inherit the estate waste is away.
Creating a last will and testament not only ensures that your kids are well taken care of after your demise thanks to the inheritance you leave them or the guardian you appoint; it also lets you control running of your business so that it stays in the family and exists beyond your first generation.
You could also use a will to create irrevocable trusts. These irrevocable trusts are the likes of the testamentary trusts. You can use the testamentary trust to protect your kids' futures, and you could also use it to ensure the continuous care of your pet until the animal passes away.
With a free last will and testament in Ohio, you could create a special needs trust for the care of a loved one with special needs, a dynasty trust to keep your business and assets in the family or an education trust for asset accumulation. Other trusts created through will, a complex will to be specific, include the AB or the Disclaimer trust which shelters your assets for your spouse and the credit shelter trust for tax planning purposes if you have a large estate.
Making your child the sole heir to your estate is not all you can do to take care of your child, especially if you leave behind a minor. To ensure that your child gets the kind of care you would offer, or something close to that, you need to leave your child under the care of someone you trust, a guardian. Considering what goes into parenting, discuss guardianship with that person you have in mind, ahead of time.
Your personal representative will file the will with the probate court for its validation. Along with the validation of the will, the probate (court-supervised) process will also appoint your personal representative the executor of the estate. The only role of the court is the administration of the asset distribution.
Note that the executor has to manage the estate by paying off bills, debts, and taxes before they distribute the assets.
- In Ohio, relief from administration comes in two categories of estates:
- Estates worth less than $100,000 when the spouse is named as the sole beneficiary
- Estates worth less than $35,000 when the surviving spouse is not entitled to all the assets or when there is no surviving spouse.
- Now that you have seen some of the powers of the will, you might want to ensure that it has all the necessary information to make the document valid in the eyes of the law. First, get a free Ohio last will and testament form online then get started.
- Who inherits your estate?
- Here, name your preferred beneficiaries. Note that leaving your spouse out of the will could mean that the will gets challenged later. So, be careful with such choices. As a contingency measure, choose alternate beneficiaries in case the primary beneficiaries do not survive you. You have complete autonomy when naming beneficiaries although seeking legal help from an estate planning lawyer is a wise move when you get into a second marriage or when in a blended family.
- This is the executor. It has to be someone you have utmost faith to carry out the terms of the will. You should also choose an alternate
- Who will take care of your kids?
- As mentioned above, the primary roles of the will is child protection. So, don’t assume that the discussion you hold covers all the bases. Put down their name as well as the name of an alternative guardian should the primary guardian pass away before you or if they are unable to take care of your kids at that time for whichever reason. You could also make the guardian the manager of your child's inheritance.
Note that you must sign the will in the presence of 2 or more witnesses. The role of the witnesses is to affirm that you signed off on the will without any external pressure. If you are unable to sign the will, you could ask someone else to sign it; but in your presence and under your explicit directions. You must be 18 years or older when signing the will and you must be of sound mind and memory.
The will must be in writing except in special circumstances where oral/ nuncupative and handwritten or holographic wills are acceptable. Oral wills are valid if they are created during the testator's last illness. It should be reduced to writing and subscribed to by at least 2 competent adult witnesses, 10 days after you speak your will. The nuncupative will should be submitted to the probate court within 6 months after the death of the testator.
Holographic wills are also acceptable as long as long as they are executed according to the demands of code section 2107.02, et seq.
Ever wondered what happens to your estate if you pass away without a will? Well, the state invokes intestacy laws. These are strict laws that govern estate distribution for decedents (dead person without a will). Here is what happens in Ohio when intestacy is invoked.
If survived by a spouse only, he or she inherits your entire estate, but the share of the inheritance will vary if there are kids in the picture. And, if you are not survived by kids, a spouse, or parents, your estate goes to your siblings and grandparents.
Changing the will
You can change your will at any time using a codicil, the legal amendment for wills. Your only job is to ensure that the amendment is in the same manner as the original will.
Revoking the will
- You could revoke it by:
- Executing a subsequent will
- By creating a new will
- Destruction: obliteration, cancellation or destruction.
Are you ready to prepare a will? You could do so with our last will and testament forms available online and from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Parma, Dayton, or any other city of Ohio.